In the Tampa Saint Pete area there are well over 2,000 licensed boat captains/fishing guides. Out of these there is only a handful of "CHARTER CAPTAINS" in the area. Let me tell you about our week as Captain Mike and myself are filming for the television show. On Monday we were unsure if we would be able to film because of weather, we were scheduled to fish with Captain Doug Hemmer. At four a.m. the wind was blowing only 11 knots, I called the troops and we were to meet seven a.m. At seven the wind was howling about 20 knots and a front was bearing down scheduled to arrive around noon. Folks we were in the 30' Dorado and it was too rough to get bait at the skyway. Doug says,"Artificial it is" and we were off. I didn't think we'd catch a fish but a true professional at his craft, Hemmer managed to put together a great string of trout for us just as the front arrived and the winds were approaching 30 knotsand blew us off the water.
On Thursday we were scheduled to fish with Captain Jamie Goodwin, we were to meet at 11:00am as the tide would not be high enough until then. Jamie and Mike went out early caught bait and scouted around a bit before picking up myself and the crew. We went and checked out a spot or two on the way to the redfish Jamie had been catching earlier in the week. As we get there the tide is almost dead high so the fish were finicky and Capt. Goodwin has us throwing live bait, dead bait, half dead bait and on jig heads, hooks with split shots and just hooks. Every combination caught fish but no more than one fish each. When the tide turned to run out as our friend Captain Tommy LaOronge would say, "Oh Mylanta!!" it was like a switched flipped with double and triple hook ups on over slot and slot sized redfish. It was so crazy the Mike (having take a fly fishing class) caught his first fish on a fly rod. Jamie looked at me and said,"Come on it's your turn." Guys the extent of my fly rod experience is as a kid using one as if it were a cane pole, suffice to say I ain't no Flip Pallot by any stretch. With about 10 seconds of instruction from Jamie, I'm attempted to fly fish, but was accused of building a dream catcher. I had two fish chase the fly as I was frantically stripping the line and the third time was the charm, FISH ON!!!! We landed the fish and she was around the 29" mark.
I guess the point of all of this is here are two guys that make there living on the water. The first, Captain Doug Hemmer, didn't have a lot to work with weather wise, and worked hard and made it happen in spite of the conditions he was delt. The second, Captain Jamie Goodwin, started out with no moving water, made the fish eat anyway, and when the fish went crazy, turned Mike and myself onto a whole new realm of fishing with the fly rod. I tell you both of these gentlemen are not fishing guides. THEY ARE CHARTER CAPTAINS.